Backers of a renovation project at the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields scored a major victory Thursday when two separate city committees approved the plan, but the fight over the project is unlikely to end soon.
Opposition groups will meet in the next week to consider appealing the approval by the Planning Department, which voted 4-1 to move forward with the controversial plan.
“Appealing this decision is certainly a possibility,” said John Rizzo, a member of the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club. “We’ll probably make a decision on whether to pursue that route in the next week or so.”
Katherine Howard, leader of SF Ocean Edge, a neighborhood group that opposes the project, said her organization will meet with its lawyer next week to discuss the possibility of an appeal.
As part of the approval process, the Recreation and Park Commission authorized the conceptual plan for the project and the Planning Commission certified a recently-completed environmental impact report.
Opponents of the plan can appeal the EIR certification before the Board of Supervisors.
Backed by the Recreation and Park Department, the $14 million project would overhaul the soccer fields at the western edge of Golden Gate Park. The grass pitches at the field are set to be replaced by artificial turf, with new lights and expanded parking opportunities coming to the complex as well.
Youth soccer leagues have come out in support of the plan, saying it will give kids more opportunities to play at the site, which is currently shuttered about half the time due to field-repair issues.
Environmental groups say the complex will adversely affect natural habitats of animals, and that it goes against the naturalistic look of the western half of Golden Gate Park.